Amid the sonic boom that was the ACI launch there was a lot of information to digest. There was commentary, rapid responses from vendors and general hubbub about Cisco’s foray into the SDN playground. Even early on many of us feared about our existing Nexus 7000 investments and having a bad taste in our mouths. I am even one to have had that bad taste. Many of us saw the light with NSX and Open Contrail. These solutions are sound and provide scaling tunnel fabrics to address the problems of today. With that being said now there is more information I am begging to understand more.

The initial message was that the Nexus 9000 was out to usurp the role of the Nexus 7000 family. Although this is not what Cisco messaged, it was what came through social channels. I do not necessarily agree with that anymore. I see the Nexus 9000 complementing the 7000 as data centers transition to ACI. The new ASIC that enables ACI shouldn’t be associated with rip and replace. Although the hardware is proprietary it is an evolutionary step for new and existing Nexus 7000 customers. Initially islands of ACI would appear across the data center and slowly expand.

I like to draw comparisons of the Nexus 9000 to that of the introduction of the Nexus 7000. People didn’t move off the Catalyst 6500 due to the feature disparity between it and the Nexus 7000. I think the same will be of the Nexus 9000 – in time as the platform matures there will be feature additions that will create a greater synergy between the 9000 and 7000.

It is important to note that there is no investment protection from ANY vendor if you rip and replace. There are some business models that can justify the ROI on such actions but many can’t. For the many the idea of road-map evolution is more appealing and it allows time for the value proposition of solutions like ACI are realized. I now realize my investment in the Nexus 7000 matched current business drivers and trends and meets the already agreed on IT road-map. What I need to do now is look at enhancing my infrastructure with what ACI can offer.

We are all susceptible to the FUD and noise that surrounds disruption. Even the best plans and road-maps can be waylaid but it is paramount that you can tolerate disruption and discord and channel it into positive means. It has been the BEST two months in networking. This year has changed my perspective on technology, the future and how I can bring benefit to business with networking.

4 thoughts on “Nexus 9000 will complement your 7000

  1. I would argue it’s an “and” conversation and not an “or” conversation. Boxes aren’t purchased just so we can plug in cables and make the lights turn green. Boxes are purchased for features and roadmap. Why does Cisco sell the 5k, 6k and 7k? Different feature sets, different roadmaps, different customer needs. I think the same is true for 7k vs. 9k. Do you need high density 40GE with ACI or do you simply need a lot of 10GE with some 40GE uplinks and fabric path? I think that business needs will steer most customers to one box or the other.

    Disclaimer: Cisco employee not speaking on behalf of Cisco

    1. I totally agree. Everything is driven by the business case and the requirements behind it. The Nexus 3000 is aimed at financials based on its requirements. The Nexus 5k/2k works well for those who require the benefits of TOR switching without the CapEx or feature requirements found in 7k such as OTV/Fabric Path.

      Generally as modern networks evolve we are seeing a higher requirement for leaf and spine architectures. This new conversation being had by applications east and west has increased demand for 40G uplinks.

      I see the natural evolution of what ACI is promising having a BROAD appeal and it has a gravitational pull. I would think most people would be budgeting now for 9K and ACI and most likely Nexus 7k customers.

      I appreciate the disclosure.

  2. Pingback: The year of 2013!

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